Tag Archives | Propaganda

2014: The Year the American Justice System Officially Died

Carey Wedler writes at TheAntiMedia.org:

In 2014, the problem of police brutality forced itself to the forefront of the national conversation following the brutal killing of Americans at the hands of the police. This increased attention has been a success for activists from all walks of life and for the well-being of citizens. The problem of racism and police murders that involve it is finally receiving widespread acknowledgment and opposition.

But as much as the issue of police abuse needs attention, it remains that injustice in America permeates layers of society that transcend law enforcement, race, and problems of direct violence against citizens.

Rather, police brutality is a symptom of much deeper decay in the concept and system of “justice” in the United States. As much as murderous cops escaping punishment is outrageous, here are other travesties that occurred in 2014:

The Senate attempted to stifle the free speech of any journalist it did not define as “press,” calling the bill a protection of the first amendment. Most of Congress cheered Israel on from June through the summer while it pummeled Gaza.

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Take it and Like it: Corporate America and the Manipulation of Public Opinion

Brad Clinesmith (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Brad Clinesmith (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Absurd Illusions of a Shining City on a Hill by Mark Weiser at Dissident Voice:

The average natural born citizen in any country is continuously indoctrinated into the national culture starting about the time they begin understanding the meaning of words. There’s one country in particular where reality is staring the public in the face, but the truth has been grossly distorted for decades by government, and mass media, bias and propaganda. If the citizens would suddenly see the truth, instead of what they’ve been conditioned to believe, they would find themselves in a strange and bizarre foreign land that’s contrary in many ways to their personal beliefs regarding home. For those who experience this sudden revelation, as soon as the truth is realized, it’s likely to provoke a profound and immediate sense of disbelief. Like emergency room personnel making insensitive jokes, laughter at some point becomes a self-defense mechanism for offsetting continuous parades of the absurd realities and outright horrors.

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Selling ‘Peace Groups’ on US-Led Wars

Margaret Sarfehjooy and Coleen Rowley write at Consortium News:

“War is peace” double-speak has become commonplace these days. And, the more astute foreign policy journalists and commentators are beginning to realize the extent of how “liberal interventionists” work in sync with neocon warhawks to produce and sustain a perpetual state of U.S. war.

More and more “peace and social justice” groups are even being twisted into “democracy promotion,” U.S. militarism style. But rarely do we get a window to see as clearly into how this Orwellian transformation occurs as with the “Committee in Solidarity with the People of Syria” (CISPOS) based in Minnesota’s Twin Cities, a spin-off of “Friends for a Nonviolent World” (FNVW), steering its Quaker-inspired founding in nonviolence to promote speakers and essayists with strong ties to the violent uprising to topple the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad, resulting in a war that has already taken some 200,000 lives.

Do the real pacifist members approve? Or even know?

Middle Eastern expats who support U.S.

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“You Can’t Stop the Signal” — An Analysis of Social Media Activism

Essam Sharaf  (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Wikimedia Commons.

Essam Sharaf (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Wikimedia Commons.

Via World Policy Blog

Welcome back to the World Policy “Best of” list. Today we pull back the curtain on the Egyptian revolution and reveal its somewhat dark underbelly. Political activist Mahmoud Salem, who tweets under the name “sandmonkey,” shares how the introduction of social media into Egyptian culture sparked the Egyptian revolution where he played a seminal social media role. At the same time, these same tools now jeopardize the creation of any political infrastructure capable of governing effectively. 

By Mahmoud Salem

CAIRO, Egypt—As a child of the 1980s, I grew up watching science fiction television shows and movies—all set in the “not-so-distant future.” Holographic communication, teleportation, and flying cars were central tenets of that universe. And while I marveled at the prospect of these technologies, I was most fascinated by the “magical technological device”—that could be used to complete any task, from basic communication to dissemination of news to national security.

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Mining the Hive Mind: Implications Of Facebook Indexing 1 Trillion Posts

Mike Beauchamp (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Mike Beauchamp (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Via TechCrunch:

A whole wing of the Internet just got added to our collective conscience, like websites by Google or knowledge by Wikipedia before it.

 Yet the news cruised by with analysis focused simply on what Facebook’s new keyword post search does today. Yes, any post by you or any of your friends can now be dug up with a quick search from mobile. But I don’t think people realize how big a deal it is for tomorrow. Facebook just went from data rich to Scrooge-McDuck-swimming-in-a-tower-full-of data rich.

The ramifications for advertising, developers, and Facebook itself are tough to fathom. Our most vivid doppelgänger, our digital echoes can now be tracked. They don’t just say who we were, but where we’re headed, and what we’ll want next.

First, the trillion post index gives us group memory.Each person can only search stories from their friends and surrounding network, but Mark Zuckerberg recently said those all add up to over 1 trillion posts.

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Facebook’s callous “Year in Review” highlights the inhumanity of algorithms

Dimitris Kalogeropoylos (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Dimitris Kalogeropoylos (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Via PandoDaily:

Facebook has apologized for the insensitivity of a feature which relied on algorithms to collect a year’s worth of events, status updates, and photographs into a single presentation after it was criticized for showing images of deceased family members.

Eric Meyer, the user who first wrote about the “Year in Review” feature’s morbid callousness, has also apologized to Facebook for not making clear the company’s efforts to console him for the algorithmic fuck-up before he published his blog post.

But his original point — that companies should account for all their users instead of building products for an idealized version of the human condition — still stands. It might even be more relevant now that it’s clear Facebook didn’t know of the problem.

Continue reading.

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My horrible right-wing past: Confessions of a one-time religious right icon

Frank Schaeffer writes at Salon:

I am a white, privileged, well-off, 61-year-old former Republican religious right-wing activist who changed his mind about religion and politics long ago. The New York Times profiled my change of heart saying that to my former friends I’m considered a “traitorous prince” since my religious-right family was once thought of as “evangelical royalty.”

You see, only in the Mafia, the British Royal family and big time American religion is a nepotistic rise to power seen as normal. And I was good at it. And I hated it while hypocritically profiting from it — until, that is, in the mid-1980s, I quit. These days I describe myself as an atheist who believes in God.

Ironically I helped my father become famous in the religion sector. In the 1970s I directed and produced two film series featuring Dad with book companions that became evangelical bestsellers: “How Should We Then Live?” and “Whatever Happened to the Human Race?” By the time Dad and I completed two nationwide seminar tours launching those projects, I was being invited to speak at the biggest religious gatherings, including the Southern Baptist Convention and the annual meeting of the National Religious Broadcasters.

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Follow the Money: Meet the US Senate’s most important anti-environmentalist

Global average temperature anomaly since 1880, compared to the average temperature from 1901 to 2000. (NOAA).

Global average temperature anomaly since 1880, compared to the average temperature from 1901 to 2000. (NOAA).

Via The Verge

In 2003, Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) and then-chair of the Senate’s Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, took to the Senate floor and asked, “With all of the hysteria, all of the fear, all of the phony science, could it be that man-made global warming is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people?” More than 10 years of science has been completed since Inhofe first posed his question. Nearly all of it shows climate change is definitely not a hoax. That hasn’t stopped Sen. Inhofe and other conservative politicians from waging a crusade against climate policy and science.

The Senate changes hands

Republicans took back the Senate in the November elections. That means Inhofe is headed back to the EPW chairmanship after a seven-year absence. He’s promised to use his position to stop environmental legislation in its tracks and rein in the Environmental Protection Agency.

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$14 Million An Hour: War Costs Top $1.6 Trillion Since 9/11, Say Congressional Researchers

Moyan Brenn (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Moyan Brenn (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Via IBT

American taxpayers have shelled out roughly $1.6 trillion on war spending since 9/11, according to a new report from Congress’ nonpartisan research arm. That’s roughly $337 million a day — or nearly a quarter million dollars a minute — every single day for 13 years.

The $1.6 trillion estimate, which comes to $14 million per hour since 9/11, from the Congressional Research Service is up roughly half a trillion dollars from its 2010 estimate, which found that the post-9/11 military operations are second only to World War II in terms of financial cost.

In its report, which was released earlier this month, CRS finds that the 92 percent of the war-related expenditures since 9/11 have flowed into the Pentagon. Just 6 percent has been spent on foreign assistance and diplomacy, and 1 percent on medical services for veterans.

The report, which was posted on the website of the Federation of American Scientists, breaks down the war-related expenditures by different military operations.

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This Is the Stupidest Anti-Science Bullshit of 2014

Via Mother Jones:

2014 had its fair share of landmark scientific accomplishments: dramatic cuts to the cost of sequencing a genome; sweeping investigations of climate change impacts in the US; advances in private-sector space travel, and plenty more. But there was also no shortage of high-profile figures eager to publicly and shamelessly denounce well-established science—sometimes with serious consequences for public policy. So without further ado, the most egregious science denial of 2014:

Basically everything said by Donald Trump:

You can always count on The Donald to pull no punches. He got started early this year, when he pointed to freezing temperatures in parts of the country as evidence that “this very expensive GLOBAL WARMING bullshit has got to stop” and then told Fox News that the global warming “hoax” was merely the result of scientists“having a lot of fun.”

In September, Trump went on a Twitter screed linking vaccines to autism.

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